Roque Bluffs State Park is home to 274 acres of sublime Downeast Maine landscape on Schoppee Point in the town of Roque Bluffs, 7 miles south of Machias as the crow, or perhaps more appropriately in this case, the seagull, flies. The park was established in 1969 using proceeds from a public bond to protect the property, and just last year, the state acquired Pond Cove Island right offshore, adding 50 acres to the park’s inventory.
The highlight of the mainland section of the Roque Bluffs parkland is the half-mile arc of sand-and-pebble beach along Englishman Bay. Just behind the beach is Simpson Pond, 60 acres of wildlife-rich freshwater wetland habitat. Beyond that are lovely meadows, an old apple orchard and a hilltop capped with mossy green spruce woods. Five trails provide hikers with 3 miles and several good hours of scenic sauntering possibilities.
Meander up to the picnic table atop the hill to take in the quiet beauty of the fragrant forest of mature trees, then wind downslope to the shoreline bluffs and on to Rose Ledge at the head of Pond Cove. Scamper out into the open on the reddish-colored rock for a good look across the bay to Pond Cove Island, and farther, to Jonesport on the opposite shore. Plans call for making the island available for remote camping, hiking and other recreational activities.
The beach at Roque Bluffs is unusual along this stretch of the Maine coast that is most often characterized by rocky headlands and cobble shores. Sediments transported by the erosion of the glacial moraine just to the east accumulated here to form the stunning crescent. Wander the beach at will, but be sure to explore its east end, where a bedrock outcrop displays glacial striations and grooves, clear evidence of the glacier’s powerful action eons ago.
The unusual beach outcrop is stop number 29 on the Maine Ice Age Trail, …….